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Final Rounds: A Father, a Son, the Golf Journey of a Lifetime

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  297 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Their relationship was forged on the golf course. Whenever there was a problem in their lives, Jim Dodson and his father would play a round and figure it out while smashing drives and lining up putts. But Jim's father was now 80 years old (Jim was 40) and his drives were not carrying the greens like they used to. Father and son could not play golf together forever, so they ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Bantam Books (first published October 1st 1996)
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Alan Livingston
I’ve been trying without success to find a better way to describe my thoughts of this book than what is printed as testimonials on the back of its dust jacket: Says one, “Final Rounds is a beautiful, deeply moving tribute to the love between a father and son and their shared passion for golf”. In another, Ben Crenshaw notes that the book, “illustrates how synonymous the terms golf and life have always been”. Both of those points are on the mark.

In Final Rounds, an especially well-written book, a
Anna Ligtenberg
ISBN 0553375644 - I started reading this book hoping for the touching story of the father and son and was vaguely disappointed. Not to say the story isn't there, because it is in it's own way, but the golf far overshadows Dodson and his father, making this a far better book for golf fans than non-fans.

James Dodson and his father finally get around to planning that dream trip: all the best courses in great company. Just before they are to leave, his father calls with bad news - the trip will have
I've had this book on my shelves for years, and finally settled down to what I suspected might be quite a sad read. It wasn't really. It was the story of a son taking his dying father to share games of golf around the great British courses of his youth. It was quite well balanced, not too schmaltzy, and pondered the lives that we lead for better or worse. And the games of golf we play, for better or worse. What spoiled it all a bit, was when I felt the author tried to force his prose into some h ...more
Allen Steele
A father's love for the game of golf. Teaching his adult son the importance of patience, humility & friendship. A dying father (cancer) takes a trip with his son to the golf courses of old. Where he learned to play as a pilot in WWII. The stories were tear-jerkers with deep meaning & told of a time long ago. Wordy at times. Lots of emphasis on the people who played, the tournaments & the holes of half dozen courses. Lots of names like Stewart, Faldo, Watson, Jones, Sneed, Player & ...more
I actually really liked this book but only gave it 3 stars because I truly think you have to be just a little bit into golf to really like. It was a sweet story about a man who goes on an adventure to the golf mecca (Scotland) with his father who is dying of cancer. It could have been just another tear-jerker story but he interjected it with interesting golf history/stories about the courses they played. His father had also spent some time there during WW2 so there were stories about that as wel ...more
Eric Olson
Amazing! A better golf book there never was. I laughed and cried, often at the same time. So good I wrote a letter to the author many, many years ago and re-created a similar golf trip with my Dad (although we only made it to central Wisconsin).
David Kendall
As a golfer and a son who to this day credits his father with both superb mentorship and an introduction to the joys of golf, a wonderful book -- as much about golf as fatherhood and their relationship but a golfers "should" read.
A memoir of a golfer's trip of a lifetime. A son takes his cancer-riddled father on a memorable tour of Scottish golf courses to celebrate their lifelong love of golf. ... just months before the dad dies of cancer.
Ryan Rougeux
I enjoyed Dodson's read about his Dad dying, and them taking their last few moments of life on a journey around the links where they originated. It was a little bland for my liking in dialogue, but the description of the golf courses themselves kept me interested. Dodson has a way to incorporate the climate of St. Andrew and corresponding courses into the way the characters were feelings. The rain, wind, and cold climate fit in perfect with the situation of his dad Dying. I thoroughly enjoyed hi ...more
I got this as a gift from our graphic designer. (He gave us all random books from the dollar bin at the Strand, along with a gift card.) It's certainly not a book I would have picked up, having never played golf besides the kind with windmills on the course, so I knew I'd be skimming over the more "golf-y" parts. But that's not what annoyed me about this book. What did annoy me is the author's whining. Yes, I know your dad (who seems like an awesome guy) is dying, and yes, it's awful that the fi ...more
This was given to me by a physicist colleague after a very successful observing run at the CFHT telescope on Mauna Kea. (My unnamed collaborator spent a few hours at the telescope but most of the rest of the trip on various golf courses of the Big Island!)

It's a wonderful story of a sports writer, Dodson, playing some of the world's greatest golf courses with his father who is battling cancer. If you play golf and have kids you'll laugh and cry throughout.
James Dodson grows up playing golf with his Dad. As the time goes by, he seeks to re-establish this
bond thru a trip to Great Britain and Scotland playing courses with his Dad who played them during WWII.
Touching and profound, about a wise wise loving father and the Son who realizes fully what a gift he has been given....seeking to pass it on.
I am a sucker for Father/Son stories...this one is right up there!
Outstanding! Not being a golfer much of the course experience and golf talk was filler rather than entertaining or moving but quick enough to get through. The father son relationship was inspiring and quite emotional and reaffirmed what I hope to create with my children. Highly recommended, it should not take a terminal prognosis for this kind of experience with our parents.
Rick Tenreiro

A poignant remembrance of the bond between father and son and life lessons to be learned.

For those who view golf as a universal theme and more than sport; as an endeavor that can be existentialist, if you'll let it, I highly recommend it.

I guess the simplest way to summarize it is -
if your Dad and golf are important to you - this is the book for you.
Reading the ending makes me tear up every time. Father and son can certainly have a huge bond on the golf course. My dad and I don't talk that extensively out on the course, but just being out there with him is wonderful - treasure every hole. I love Dodson spurning the last round for the memory of a few holes of just walking with his father.
The title just about says it all. The father is dying of cancer and the journey is, of course, to the great courses of England and Scotland. I wish I'd been able to undertake such a trip with my dad in his final days--or ever. Good books cannot replace life, but sometimes they can, are the only vicarious experience able to, fill in the holes.
This is a really wonderfully told story of the relationship between fathers and sons. It's a moving story that I can't say much about for fear of spoiling the plot and its ending. I recommend it very highly and it really has a lot of life lessons between its covers. Oh, and there is quite a bit about golf and the zen of golf too.
The Dodsons always knew where to go to solve their problems; the golf course! For decades, both father and son took refuge ther together. In the game, they found connection. This book is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. As straight a short in to the magnetic hold on golfers 328 metres drive that splits the fairway.

Oct 27, 2007 Patrick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any Father and Son
This book was about a Father and Son and their love for the game of golf. Even more than that it was about the love they had for each other. Telling you anymore of the story would ruin it. If there ever was a good read this book is it. my friend and brother-in-law recomended it and I'm glad he did.
Ray Rickert
I'm an avid golfer, still, this book didn't hold my interest that well. It wasn't the page turner I was hoping for. That being said, it is a great story, and one that every man who has a hero for a father can relate to, thus four stars.
The story of a father and son. The father is dying of cancer so he and his son go back to England where the father learned to play golf to get in a few "Final Rounds". It is as much a father/son story as a golf one but it is great on both parts
This book recounts a golf trip that the author took with his father shortly before his father passed away. Although I did not understand or appreciate all of the golf references, I was moved by the father/son relationship and the insights shared.
Mar 26, 2008 Rob rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: golfers, fathers, and sons
This is a great book for anyone who has learned the game of golf from their father or grandfather. Touching story about the connection between a father and son and the adventure they take together during the father's final days.
Sam Norton
An all around great book. Very touching story about a father and son, as well as great descriptions and stories of most of the courses on the Open rota. A must-read for any fan of British Isles golf.
David Hord
This one is great for sons whose Dad's took them on golf trips. (could be a weeper) I have read it a couple of times. It is one of the few books that I kept after moving to the river.
This was a nice read but not something I could say stands out as a real amazing, a must read. Good but not great. Don't waste to much money trying to grab a copy.
This is a great book for anyone, not just golfers! Though, those of us who appreciate the spirit of the links will find an undeniable connection.
One of the best memoirs about golf and more about the father/son relationship --- exquisitely crafted and heart-felt .
Beautiful, true story. Even my husband cried. And you don't have to be a golfer (though it helps).
Lucas Barrett
Nov 17, 2009 Lucas Barrett rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: golfers with ailing family members
Recommended to Lucas by: My father
Shelves: family
This book exemplifies what it's like to share a passion for something with your father.
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James Dodson is the author of seven books, including Final Rounds and Ben Hogan: An American Life. He lives with his family in Southern Pines, North Carolina."
More about James Dodson...
Ben Hogan: An American Life American Triumvirate: Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, and the Modern Age of Golf The Dewsweepers Faithful Travelers A Son of the Game: A Story of Golf, Going Home, and Sharing Life's Lessons

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